It's always exciting to see a company like Google offer something new, but YouTube TV is not the first time this company has tried to do something innovative with streaming video. Here's what you need to know about Google's latest efforts to shake up television as we know it.
What is YouTube TV?
Think of YouTube TV as an internet-based cable television subscription. For a monthly fee, you can stream live television directly to your phone without needing an account through your local cable company. You can use this as a way to watch live television when you aren't at home, or you can completely replace your home cable service with YouTube TV.
Aren't there other apps that do this right already?
As a matter of fact, there are three rather popular services offering similar services. Sony's PlayStation Vue lets you watch and record live TV across many different screens, DirecTV Now is a satellite-free alternative to cable companies, and SlingTV exists as an alternative to watching your favorite shows with a cable box.
YouTube TV is looking to compete with these services by offering a price point in the middle of these services, with expanded features a promise of more consistent streaming video quality.
What channels do I get with YouTube TV?
Currently, YouTube TV is offering:
- Fox News
- Fox Business
- Local Now
- Disney Junior
- Disney XD
- The CW
- National Geographic
- Nat Geo Wild
- ESPN 2
- ESPN 3
- ESPN News
- ESPN U
- SEC ESPN
- Fox Sports
- NBC Golf
YouTube TV also includes YouTube Originals, which are shows and movies previously available only to YouTube Red subscribers.
There will also be the ability to add networks to your subscription for an additional fee. Currently, Fox Soccer Plus and Showtime are on the list of add-on networks to be available at launch.
Can I record shows with YouTube TV?
You can! YouTube TV includes a "Cloud DVR" service that allows you to record multiple shows simultaneously so you can watch them later. This feature includes a commercial skipping feature if you're watching a recorded show, available with a simple tap in the YouTube TV app.
This Cloud DVR service comes with unlimited storage, and videos you have recorded can only live on your account for nine months before they need to be erased.
How many people can use my account at the same time?
Each YouTube TV account allows you to connect up to six accounts in a family plan for no additional fee. Currently, no other live TV streaming service supports six simultaneous users as part of the base price, and each of these connected accounts will get separate recommendations and offers based on their viewing habits. This means you kids can watch all the Pokemon they want and it won't interfere with reminders about Game of Thrones or Football.
So far, Google has not mentioned any need to prove those six people live in the same house or share any other Google services.
What do I need to use YouTube TV?
As it stands YouTube TV works on just about everything with a screen. Android and iOS apps are available, as well as a website for watching and controlling your account.
If you have a TV with a Chromecast dongle or Google Cast service embedded, you are able to stream anything from YouTube to your television easily.
How much does YouTube TV cost?
Right now Google is offering a flat rate of $35 per month for YouTube TV. Each add-on network will run you an additional $10 per month.
This monthly plan does not include any contracts or commitments, so you can quickly cancel the service if you decide you are unhappy with it.
Can I get YouTube TV now?
You can get YouTube TV right now, provided you live in an area with service. Google's plan is to make the service available first in the largest U.S. markets and expand rapidly after the launch. In case you are curious, the currently supported media markets in the U.S. are:
- Dallas-Fort Worth
- Kansas City
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale
- Minneapolis-Saint Paul
- New York City
- Oklahoma City
- Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne
- Salt Lake City
- San Antonio
- San Diego
- San Francisco Bay Area
- St. Louis
- Washington DC
- West Palm Beach
To sign up so you can be notified of when this service is available in your area, head here and let Google know you're eager to try YouTube TV.
What about people outside of the U.S.?
As is often the case with Google products and streaming TV services, YouTube TV is currently U.S. only and will likely remain U.S. only for quite a while.
In order to launch in other countries, Google needs to secure streaming rights in each country. That kind of thing takes a lot of time, so the current focus is delivering in the U.S. for now.
We'll be sure to update this FAQ as more information becomes available!
Updated August 31, 2017: This article has been updated with YouTube TV's 12 new cities.